From the Los Alamitos Media Team:
PICK SIX CARRYOVER SUNDAY; MANDATORY PAYOUT ON CLOSING DAY
There will be a Pick Six carryover of $22,513 when racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Since it is the final day of the Los Angeles County Fair Winter meet, there will be a mandatory payout. The Pick Six begins in Sunday’s fifth race. Post time is 12 Noon and scheduled post time for the fifth is 1:58 p.m.
SPIELBERG PROVIDES BAFFERT SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE
LOS ALAMITOS FUTURITY WIN
Another year, another win in the Los Alamitos Futurity for Bob Baffert.
The Hall of Fame trainer’s seventh consecutive victory in the Grade II, $200,500 Futurity didn’t come easy.
Spielberg, the 19-10 second choice, was up in the very last stride to defeat pacesetter The Great One, a maiden and longest shot in the field of six at 33-1, by a nose in the third and final graded stakes of the Los Angeles County Fair Winter meet.
Owned by a partnership that includes SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm LLC and Robert Masterson, the 2-year-old son of Union Rags and the Smart Strike mare Miss Squeal continued a remarkable streak for Baffert.
He’s now won all local renewals of the Futurity since the race was moved here in 2014 after the closure of Hollywood Park. All told, he’s won the Futurity – which was offered in Inglewood between 1981-2013 – 13 times.
Coupled with Varda’s 17-1 upset in the Grade I Starlet two weeks earlier, Spielberg’s success means Baffert has swept the two signature races at Los Alamitos for 2-year-olds four years in a row.
Kept in the clear by jockey Flavien Prat, who also won the 2019 Futurity aboard Thousand Words, while never too far off the pace, Spielberg overcame a two-length deficit in the final eighth of a mile to prevail in a head-bobbing finish.
“(The Great One) was tough to get by,’’ said Baffert. “We needed every bit of that stretch and we were fortunate to get there.
“I didn’t know if I was going to run him here and I didn’t decide until after he worked well this week (six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 Dec. 13 at Santa Anita). I knew he was going to run well because he had shipped well over here and was really on it in the paddock.
“I’m just happy for everybody in the ownership group. Now we can start thinking (Kentucky) Derby. It starts here for us.
“I thought it was an easy spot last time (fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade III Bob Hope Stakes Nov. 15) and he didn’t ship well. He got nervous when he got in the stall there (Del Mar) and was just flat. We ran him back too quick. I asked (Prat) if there’s more there and he said there’s a lot more. I think he’ll get better with maturity.
In winning for the second time in six starts, Spielberg completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.56 and returned $5.80, $3.60 and $4.80. He’s earned $257,200.
A son of Nyquist who had failed to hit the board in three previous starts for trainer Doug O’Neill and a partnership that includes ERJ Racing LLC, Train Wreck Racing Stables, Niall Brennan, Tom Fritz and William Strauss, The Great One finished 3 ½ lengths in front of 6-1 shot Petruchio after leading every step of the way except the last.
He paid $16 and $10.80 while the show price on Petruchio was $5.
The disappointment in the race was 9-10 favorite Red Flag. A 7 ¼ length winner of the Bob Hope for owners Jerry and Tina Moss and trainer John Shirreffs – who was seeking his first victory at Los Alamitos -, the Tamarkuz colt was in close attendance while saving ground down the backside, got shuffled back a bit while in tight, then weakened to finish a distant fourth.
Weston and Positivity completed the order of finish.
Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time for closing day of the LACF Winter meet is 12 Noon.
The final stakes of the meet is the $100,000 King Glorious. The race at one mile is restricted to 2-year-olds bred or sired in California. It is the ninth of 10 races and has a scheduled post time of 3:58 p.m.